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Nanchang Uprising

Nanchang Uprising

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The Nanchang
Nanchang
Nanchang is the capital of Jiangxi Province in southeastern China. It is located in the north-central portion of the province. As it is bounded on the west by the Jiuling Mountains, and on the east by Poyang Lake, it is famous for its scenery, rich history and cultural sites...

 Uprising
(August 1, 1927) was the first major Kuomintang
Kuomintang
The Kuomintang of China , sometimes romanized as Guomindang via the Pinyin transcription system or GMD for short, and translated as the Chinese Nationalist Party is a founding and ruling political party of the Republic of China . Its guiding ideology is the Three Principles of the People, espoused...

-Communist
Communist Party of China
The Communist Party of China , also known as the Chinese Communist Party , is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China...

 engagement of the Chinese Civil War
Chinese Civil War
The Chinese Civil War was a civil war fought between the Kuomintang , the governing party of the Republic of China, and the Communist Party of China , for the control of China which eventually led to China's division into two Chinas, Republic of China and People's Republic of...

, in order to counter the anti-communist purges
April 12 Incident
The April 12 Incident of 1927 refers to the violent suppression of Chinese Communist Party organizations in Shanghai by the military forces of Chiang Kai-shek and conservative factions in the Kuomintang...

 by the Nationalist Party of China.

The Kuomintang
Kuomintang
The Kuomintang of China , sometimes romanized as Guomindang via the Pinyin transcription system or GMD for short, and translated as the Chinese Nationalist Party is a founding and ruling political party of the Republic of China . Its guiding ideology is the Three Principles of the People, espoused...

 (KMT, or Nationalist Party) established a ‘Revolutionary Committee’ at Nanchang
Nanchang
Nanchang is the capital of Jiangxi Province in southeastern China. It is located in the north-central portion of the province. As it is bounded on the west by the Jiuling Mountains, and on the east by Poyang Lake, it is famous for its scenery, rich history and cultural sites...

 to plan the spark that was expected to ignite a widespread peasant uprising. Deng Yanda, Song Qingling (Soong Ching-ling, Madame Sun Yat-sen) and Zhang Fakui
Zhang Fakui
Zhang Fakui was a Chinese Nationalist general who fought against northern warlords, the Imperial Japanese Army and Chinese Communist forces in his military career. He served as commander-in-chief the 8th Army Group and commander-in-chief of NRA ground force before retire in Hong Kong in...

 (who later crushed the uprising) were among the political leaders.

Military forces in Nanchang
Nanchang
Nanchang is the capital of Jiangxi Province in southeastern China. It is located in the north-central portion of the province. As it is bounded on the west by the Jiuling Mountains, and on the east by Poyang Lake, it is famous for its scenery, rich history and cultural sites...

 rebelled under the leadership of He Long
He Long
He Long was a Chinese military leader. He rose to the rank of Marshal and Vice Premier after the founding of the People's Republic of China.-Early life:He Long was a member of the Tujia ethnic group...

 and Zhou Enlai
Zhou Enlai
Zhou Enlai was the first Premier of the People's Republic of China, serving from October 1949 until his death in January 1976...

 attempting to seize control of the city after the end of the first Kuomintang-Communist alliance. Other important leaders in this event were Zhu De
Zhu De
Zhu De was a Chinese militarist, politician, revolutionary, and one of the pioneers of the Chinese Communist Party. After the founding of the People's Republic of China, in 1955 Zhu became one of the Ten Marshals of the People's Liberation Army, of which he is regarded as the founder.-Early...

, Ye Ting
Ye Ting
Ye Ting , born in Huiyang, Guangdong, was a Chinese military leader. He started out nationalist and went to the communists....

, and Liu Bocheng
Liu Bocheng
Liu Bocheng was a Chinese Communist military commander and Marshal of the People's Liberation Army.Liu is known as one of the "Three and A Half" Strategists of China in modern history...

.

Communist forces successfully occupied Nanchang
Nanchang
Nanchang is the capital of Jiangxi Province in southeastern China. It is located in the north-central portion of the province. As it is bounded on the west by the Jiuling Mountains, and on the east by Poyang Lake, it is famous for its scenery, rich history and cultural sites...

 and escaped from the siege of Kuomintang forces by August 5, withdrawing to the Jinggang Mountains of western Jiangxi
Jiangxi
' is a southern province in the People's Republic of China. Spanning from the banks of the Yangtze River in the north into hillier areas in the south, it shares a border with Anhui to the north, Zhejiang to the northeast, Fujian to the east, Guangdong to the south, Hunan to the west, and Hubei to...

. The day of August 1 was later regarded as the anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army
People's Liberation Army
The People's Liberation Army is the unified military organization of all land, sea, strategic missile and air forces of the People's Republic of China. The PLA was established on August 1, 1927 — celebrated annually as "PLA Day" — as the military arm of the Communist Party of China...

. It is regarded as the first action fought against the Kuomintang.

Names


In Chinese, apart from the name shown above, the event is known as: August 1 Nanchang Uprising , August 1 Uprising , Nanchang Rebellion , Nanchang Insurrection , or Nanchang Mutiny

Communist forces


Communist force at its peak during Nanchang
Nanchang
Nanchang is the capital of Jiangxi Province in southeastern China. It is located in the north-central portion of the province. As it is bounded on the west by the Jiuling Mountains, and on the east by Poyang Lake, it is famous for its scenery, rich history and cultural sites...

 Uprising totaled over 20,000, though some of them did not join the battle until a day later. The entire communist force was organized into the 2nd Front Army, and over half of it was the force under He Long
He Long
He Long was a Chinese military leader. He rose to the rank of Marshal and Vice Premier after the founding of the People's Republic of China.-Early life:He Long was a member of the Tujia ethnic group...

's command. He Long was also named as the Commander-in-Chief of the 2nd Front Army, and Ye Ting
Ye Ting
Ye Ting , born in Huiyang, Guangdong, was a Chinese military leader. He started out nationalist and went to the communists....

 as the deputy commander-in-Chief and acting front line commander-in-chief. Communist representative was Zhou Enlai
Zhou Enlai
Zhou Enlai was the first Premier of the People's Republic of China, serving from October 1949 until his death in January 1976...

, chief of staff was Liu Bocheng
Liu Bocheng
Liu Bocheng was a Chinese Communist military commander and Marshal of the People's Liberation Army.Liu is known as one of the "Three and A Half" Strategists of China in modern history...

, and director of Political Directorate of the 2nd Front Army: Guo Moruo
Guo Moruo
Guo Moruo , courtesy name Dingtang , was a Chinese author, poet, historian, archaeologist, and government official from Sichuan, China.-Family history:Guo, originally named Guo Kaizhen, was born on November 10 or 16, in the small town of Shawan...

. The following is the order of battle
Order of battle
In modern use, the order of battle is the identification, command structure, strength, and disposition of personnel, equipment, and units of an armed force participating in field operations. Various abbreviations are in use, including OOB, O/B, or OB, while ORBAT remains the most common in the...

 for the communist forces:
  • 9th Army commanded by Zhou Enlai, with Zhu De as the deputy commander and Zhu Kejing (朱克靖) as the communist representative.
  • 11th Army commanded by Ye Ting, with Cai Tingkai as the deputy commander and Nie Rongzhen
    Nie Rongzhen
    Nie Rongzhen was a prominent Chinese Communist military leader, and one of ten Marshals in the People's Liberation Army of China. He was the last surviving PLA officer with the rank of Marshal.-Biography:...

     as the communist representative.
    • 10th Division commanded by Cai Tingkai
    • 24th Division
    • 25th Division commanded by Zhou Shidi (周士第)
  • 20th Army commanded by He Long and Liao Qianwu (廖乾吾) as the communist representative
    • 1st Division
    • 2nd Division
    • 3rd Division commanded by Zhou Yiqun (周逸群)

Battle at Nanchang
Nanchang
Nanchang is the capital of Jiangxi Province in southeastern China. It is located in the north-central portion of the province. As it is bounded on the west by the Jiuling Mountains, and on the east by Poyang Lake, it is famous for its scenery, rich history and cultural sites...

 


The rebellion was first planned to take place during the night of July 30. But due to complications with Zhang Guotao
Zhang Guotao
Zhang Guotao was a founding member and important leader of the Chinese Communist Party and bitter rival to Mao Zedong. During the 1920s he studied in the Soviet Union and became a key contact with the Comintern and organized the CCP labor movement in the United Front with the Guomindang...

 the rebellion was postponed.

On the morning of August 1 at exactly 2am, Zhou Enlai, He Long, Nie Rongzhen
Nie Rongzhen
Nie Rongzhen was a prominent Chinese Communist military leader, and one of ten Marshals in the People's Liberation Army of China. He was the last surviving PLA officer with the rank of Marshal.-Biography:...

, Ye Ting, Ye Jianying
Ye Jianying
Ye Jianying was a Chinese communist general and the chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress from 1978 to 1983.-Biography:...

, Lin Biao
Lin Biao
Lin Biao was a major Chinese Communist military leader who was pivotal in the communist victory in the Chinese Civil War, especially in Northeastern China...

, Zhu De, Chen Yi
Chen Yi (communist)
Chen Yi was a Chinese communist military commander and politician. He served as the 2nd Mayor of Shanghai and the 2nd Foreign Minister of China.-Biography:Chen was born in Lezhi, near Chengdu, Sichuan, into a moderately wealthy magistrate's family....

 and Liu Bocheng led their troops and attacked the city of Nanchang
Nanchang
Nanchang is the capital of Jiangxi Province in southeastern China. It is located in the north-central portion of the province. As it is bounded on the west by the Jiuling Mountains, and on the east by Poyang Lake, it is famous for its scenery, rich history and cultural sites...

 from different directions.

Four hours later, the Communist troops were able to take over the entire city of Nanchang. They were able to capture 5,000 small arms, and around 1,000,000 rounds of ammunition from the defenders of the city. Around noon, the Revolutionary Committee of the Chinese Nationalist Party (中國國民黨革命委員會) was established.

Jung Chang
Jung Chang
Jung Chang is a Chinese-born British writer now living in London, best known for her family autobiography Wild Swans, selling over 10 million copies worldwide but banned in the People's Republic of China....

 claims that the operation led by Zhou Enlai was supervised by Soviet military advisors. Their goal was to lead the troops to a coastal area in order to receive a supply of weapons from the Soviet Union.

Retreat


Facing a counter-attack from the Nationalists, the Communists decided to retreat towards the province of Guangdong
Guangdong
Guangdong is a province on the South China Sea coast of the People's Republic of China. The province was previously often written with the alternative English name Kwangtung Province...

 to the south. Once there, they would try to take over the city of Guangzhou
Guangzhou
Guangzhou , known historically as Canton or Kwangchow, is the capital and largest city of the Guangdong province in the People's Republic of China. Located in southern China on the Pearl River, about north-northwest of Hong Kong, Guangzhou is a key national transportation hub and trading port...

 while spreading influence to the peasants and farms in that area.


Disaster Foretold

  • See also: Little Long March


Guangzhou
Guangzhou
Guangzhou , known historically as Canton or Kwangchow, is the capital and largest city of the Guangdong province in the People's Republic of China. Located in southern China on the Pearl River, about north-northwest of Hong Kong, Guangzhou is a key national transportation hub and trading port...

 was the target set by Comintern
Comintern
The Communist International, abbreviated as Comintern, also known as the Third International, was an international communist organization initiated in Moscow during March 1919...

 and, on August 3, the communist troops pulled out of Nanchang
Nanchang
Nanchang is the capital of Jiangxi Province in southeastern China. It is located in the north-central portion of the province. As it is bounded on the west by the Jiuling Mountains, and on the east by Poyang Lake, it is famous for its scenery, rich history and cultural sites...

. their Little Long March came to an end at the beginning of October, as they came down out of the Hakka
Hakka
The Hakka , sometimes Hakka Han, are Han Chinese who speak the Hakka language and have links to the provincial areas of Guangdong, Jiangxi, Guangxi, Sichuan, Hunan and Fujian in China....

 uplands and into the Chaoshan
Chaoshan
Cháoshàn refers to the linguistic and cultural region in the east of Guangdong, a southeastern province of China. This region is the origin of the Min Nan dialect Teochew. The area is known as Teochew for most people overseas, although it also consists of the cities of Shantou and Jieyang...

 area: in Chaozhou
Chaozhou
Chaozhou is a city in eastern Guangdong province of the People's Republic of China. It borders Shantou to the south, Jieyang to the southwest, Meizhou to the northwest, the province of Fujian to the east, and the South China Sea to the southeast...

 they were defeated by the Nationalist-affiliated troops. The Communists were separated and went in two general directions, one retreated to Shanwei
Shanwei
Shanwei is a prefecture-level city in Guangdong province of Southern China, People's Republic of China. It borders Jieyang to the east, Meizhou and Heyuan to the north, Huizhou to the west, and looks out to the South China Sea to the south...

 and engaged the Nationalists in guerrilla warfare, and the other went to southern Hunan
Hunan
' is a province of South-Central China, located to the south of the middle reaches of the Yangtze River and south of Lake Dongting...

 and eventually joined the force under Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao , was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, Marxist political philosopher, and leader of the Chinese Revolution...

, whose abortive Autumn Harvest Uprising
Autumn Harvest Uprising
The Autumn Harvest Uprising was an insurrection that took place in Hunan province and Jiangxi province, China on September 7, 1927, led by Mao Zedong, who established a short-lived Hunan Soviet....

 had been no more successful.

After the serious defeat Chinese communists had suffered, only 1,000 soldiers remained as a complete unit, in a regiment. Under the command of Zhu De and Chen Yi
Chen Yi (communist)
Chen Yi was a Chinese communist military commander and politician. He served as the 2nd Mayor of Shanghai and the 2nd Foreign Minister of China.-Biography:Chen was born in Lezhi, near Chengdu, Sichuan, into a moderately wealthy magistrate's family....

 who had faked their names, the remaining regiment sought refuge under a local warlord in Hunan. From this humble beginning, the force eventually grew to a 10,000 strong force and went to Jiangxi and joined Mao Zedong at Jinggangshan
Jinggangshan
Jinggangshan is located in the Luoxian Mountains , in the remote border region between Jiangxi and Hunan provinces of China. It lies at the junction of four counties - Ninggang, Yongxing, Suichuan and Lingxian. The mountains cover some 670 km², with an average elevation of 381.5 m above sea...

 in April 1928.

Liu Bocheng became a fugitive but was lucky enough to find other communists who helped him and eventually sent him to the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 for military training, while Lin Biao deserted after the defeat but had to return to the communist force because of fear hostile locals would turn him in or kill him. Guo Moruo
Guo Moruo
Guo Moruo , courtesy name Dingtang , was a Chinese author, poet, historian, archaeologist, and government official from Sichuan, China.-Family history:Guo, originally named Guo Kaizhen, was born on November 10 or 16, in the small town of Shawan...

 fled to Japan after the defeat.

Other surviving members were much less fortunate; all became fugitives. Zhou Enlai, Ye Jianying
Ye Jianying
Ye Jianying was a Chinese communist general and the chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress from 1978 to 1983.-Biography:...

 and Ye Ting lost contact with others and fled to Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

 with Zhou seriously ill. The three had two pistols with them and were successful in reaching Hong Kong. Nie Rongzhen, the other communist leader, also successfully escaped to Hong Kong.

He Long


He Long
He Long
He Long was a Chinese military leader. He rose to the rank of Marshal and Vice Premier after the founding of the People's Republic of China.-Early life:He Long was a member of the Tujia ethnic group...

 had strongly opposed the retreat plan. He accurately pointed out that marching a thousand miles in the heat of summer would put a severe strain on the troops, and also that the popular support for the communists in Guangdong was merely a fraction of the huge peasantry support in Hunan
Hunan
' is a province of South-Central China, located to the south of the middle reaches of the Yangtze River and south of Lake Dongting...

. In the opinion of He Long, the new communist base should be established in the border region of Hunan
Hunan
' is a province of South-Central China, located to the south of the middle reaches of the Yangtze River and south of Lake Dongting...

; He suggested that in Hunan the communist troops would be easily resupplied and their troops strengthened by the enlistment of the local populace. However, He Long's suggestion was vetoed.

He Long
He Long
He Long was a Chinese military leader. He rose to the rank of Marshal and Vice Premier after the founding of the People's Republic of China.-Early life:He Long was a member of the Tujia ethnic group...

went home alone after the defeat. Reduced from an army commander in charge of tens of thousands of men to a beggar, he was not well received by his family except a few who were already communists. Soon, He Long would raise another 3,000 soldier strong communist force in his native home but it would soon be wiped out by the nationalists, with only less than three dozen members surviving. It would take year for He Long's force to recover again for the third time.

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